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Goodell: Congress should enact uniform gambling standards for states

NBC Sports logo NBC Sports 5/21/2018 Josh Alper
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Video by Sports Illustrated

Last week’s Supreme Court decision opening the door for states to sanction sports betting has been met with much speculation about how it will impact all sports in the United States.

The NFL’s initial response was to ask Congress for “a core regulatory framework” that would govern legalized betting on sports. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expanded on that in a statement on Monday that asks Congress to act and outlines four areas that the league believes need to be addressed in any legislation.

“As it was for my predecessors, there is no greater priority for me as the Commissioner of the National Football League than protecting the integrity of our sport.  Our fans, our players and our coaches deserve to know that we are doing everything possible to ensure no improper influences affect how the game is played on the field. This week’s ruling by the Supreme Court has no effect on that unwavering commitment.

We have spent considerable time planning for the potential of broadly legalized sports gambling and are prepared to address these changes in a thoughtful and comprehensive way, including substantial education and compliance trainings for our clubs, players, employees and partners. These efforts include supporting commonsense legislation that protects our players, coaches and fans and maintains public confidence in our games. We are asking Congress to enact uniform standards for states that choose to legalize sports betting that include, at a minimum, four core principles:

  1. There must be substantial consumer protections;
  2. Sports leagues can protect our content and intellectual property from those who attempt to steal or misuse it;
  3. Fans will have access to official, reliable league data; and
  4. Law enforcement will have the resources, monitoring and enforcement tools necessary to protect our fans and penalize bad actors here at home and abroad.”

It’s easy to understand why the NFL and other leagues would want to have one framework for gambling rather than as many as 50 different sets of rules in place. It’s also easy to understand why the league wants to find a way to take in money for their “intellectual property” and “reliable league data” in the form of integrity fees or some other avenue.

Whether Congress will act to give them what they want after a court ruling that placed gambling decisions squarely into the hands of states remains to be seen, however.

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